« AnteriorContinuar »
deeply wounding of many, who once appeared in the hemisphere of the gospel-dispensation as stars of the first magnitude. A retrospection of thirty or forty years, gives much evidence of degraded ministers of all denominations; and to attempt to draw a veil over them would have the appearance of giving them countenance; yet we should not tell it in 'Gath, nor publish it in the streets of Askelon.'
The conversation of ministers is of much importance; it should be worthy of their character; “The priest's lips should keep knowledge:' they should be wise for them. selves,' and for others. “Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you?'* &c. 'A word spoken in season, how good is it!' a word on the wheels stops not till it reaches either the judgment or the heart to which it is directed. Grace poured into our lips will give an excellence to our conversation, and prove a blessing. Know when to speak, and speak in the language of inspiration; better you cannot find, else “what will your arguing reprove?'
In your social visits use edifying conversation, the Bible, prayer, and praise; this will be a blessing to the younger branches of a family in various ways, and prove a comfort to those who are in advanced life. Thus we should prove the salt of the earth, in prevention and preservation: as lights in the world we should benefit others, and the glory would be seen on our counte
Our voice should be that of the turtle; in our mouth the olive branch of peace, of Divine Christian reconciliation as the ministers of peace. All eyes are
upon you; many watch for your halting, especially false hearted, low minded, unsanctified, shrewd professors; yea, and even some of your fawning friends.
The value, importance, and redemption of time, should be of high consideration with ministers. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. This they teach, the influence of this truth they should feel. Of what importance is a pulpit hour to a minister himself, to the hundreds or thousands he may address? Before the returning season, his tongue may be sealed in the silence of death; and many may never hear again. Ought he not, at the close of every sermon, to stand clear of the blood of all men? Be plain, pointed, and faithful.
Keep up family religion: with some there is little or no religion at home, while there is much abroad. The person
who governs not his own family in the fear of God, will do but little good in the church of Christ. I would particularly recommend mutual secret prayer. A word to professors: Not to solicit the company of ministers to the neglect of wife, children, and servants at home: a coach, a splendid table, a select company, are strong inducements, while domestic perhaps wholly laid aside: the husband, father, or mother, is with Mr. or Mrs.
liberal friends, great subscribers; who must be regarded, and their golden god worshipped. Ah! how many have been slain by these! (yea, many strong men have fallen.'
Sit loose to party-distinction; let love be diffusive; have no firebrands to send abroad, lest the same crafty race may return on you when you least expect it. Be tender of getting on the ground of other ministers. Guard against speculative, airy notions: we may so feed
upon them as to forget our best provision, and be sa charmed with our fine mental discoveries, as to lose sight of the beauty of Christ and the ornamental practice of the gospel. Believe me, they will all fail; and, like false friends, desert you in the hour of difficulty, in affliction, death, and judgment. We shall then have to say of every speculation, and even of unfelt scriptu. ral truth, Miserable comforters are ye al!!'
PRIENDLY HINTS TO CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE PROS.
PERED IN THE WORLD.
IN A DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO INTIMATE FRIENDS.
O how portentous is PROSPERITY!
Fidelio. Well, my dear Secundus, you go on very successfully. What a charming house you have built here! how beautiful are your prospects! I have been to your London residence, and seen over your capital manufactory and warehouses there. Every one of our acquaintance admires them: And I most sincerely rejoice in every thing truly advantageous to my friend. Many, either in words or looks, are giving you joy, on the alteration in your style of living, appearance, and company, and that you can now enjoy yourself and your friends: But, will you permit your old bosom friend to whisper a caution against the new snares which surround you?
Secundus. Why yes, Sir, I have made some good strokes in trade of late, and have got a good windfall or two; thank God, I go on comfortably here; and you know Solomon says, “in the day of prosperity be joyful.” Come, will you look round my premises? here is my garden, and there are offices.
Fidelio. Very convenient and neat! But we were speak. ing about prosperity and its snares. I confess it is promised and bestowed by God as the fruit of diligence; Prov. x. 4: And when it is enjoyed with a humble, watchful, dependent, and prayerful spirit; when it is used with liberality, and to the purposes of doing good, both to the souls and bodies of the poor, after the pattern of the late truly honored LIBERO; prosperity is a token of high favor, and comes with the smiles of heaven. But, as Archbishop Leighton somewhere says, “It is a difficult thing to cariy a full cup even;" and multitudes have been much ensnared by the temptations of a rising fortune. Saul before his elevation was "little in his own sight,” i Sam. xv. 23; but afterwards became lofty, cruel, and so rebellious as “to reject the word of the Lord.”
Secundus. Saul, you know, was never reckoned sin. cerely pious. But don't we read of some truly good men in scripture, who were favored with temporal wealth and dignity? Were not Abraham and Job rich; and Joseph, David, and Daniel advanced to high honors?
Fidelio. Granted. But worldly prosperity in itself is no token of special Divine favor, or of a man's being a child of God, Eccles. ix. 1. Nay, on the other hand,
it is generally seen, that “the ungodly prosper in the world,” and it is awfully declared concerning them, “Surely they are set on slippery places, and cast down into destruction," Psalm lxxiii. 12. 18. And though some few good men have been entrusted with affluence and honor, yet you know it is not the general method of God “to call the mighty and the noble,” but, on the contrary, “to choose the poor in this world, to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom," James ii. 5.
Secundus. Must a man's sincerity in religion, then, be called in question because God has blessed him? Can
he be successful, and get a fortune without the insinuation, that he is not one of God's people? I hope no one has a right to accuse me of any thing base and dishonorable because providence smiles, nor
Fidelio. Be not apprehensive, my friend, of insinua. tions never intended. The uprightness of the heart is what we have no right to judge of, but by its fruits. The fairness of your conduct I do not mean to impeach. You used, Secundus, to allow me to be free with you: I took the liberty of long and endeared friendship: But if you wish, I will drop the subject, or I will withdraw and keep a respectful distance.
Secundus. No: pardon me, I do not think you mean to offend. Let me hear what you have further to say, Fidelio.
Fidelio. Under your leave I will remark that "the love of money is the root of all evil,” i Tim. vi. 10. We need not recur to the old and awful examples of Balaam and Judas, as an illustration of it; you remember the desperate case of Orientus, the great Na